Sept. 30, 2019 By Allie Griffin
New York City together with the state has invested $1 million for legal services for immigrants who are facing imminent deportation, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) announced last week.
The investment will support the work of the new Rapid Response Legal Collaborative (RRLC), a coalition of immigrant legal service providers that offers legal support to those detained or at imminent risk of detention and deportation.
It will also expand the capacity of the ActionNYC hotline, which provides immigrants with legal help in more than 200 languages and with the scheduling of free appointments with an ActionNYC provider. With the new funding, the hotline will now be open evenings and on weekends, often periods of high need.
The investment follows the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement that it will expedite removal of undocumented immigrants, meaning they may be deported without a hearing before an immigration judge. New York City has called upon DHS to rescind this notice.
“Immigration enforcement and threats have created widespread fear and concern among our immigrant communities and dramatically increased the need for community education, rapid response and more immediate, quality legal assistance,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “With this investment, we stand up for immigrant New Yorkers in moments of crisis – when they are at high risk of fast deportation and devastating separation from their families and communities.”
Immigration enforcement in the city has almost doubled since President Donald Trump took office, according to the MOIA data. Under de Blasio, the city has invested more than $30 million to fund a range of immigration legal help, from community-based screenings and advice to removal defense.
“Legal services are key to ensuring that the rights of immigrant families are protected,” Assembly Member Catalina Cruz said. “At a time when our community is under constant attack, I am proud to see our city and state uniting to ensure that we can get assistance to immigrant families as quickly as possible.”